Drumming at the Edge of Magic

Delve into the world of drums, rattles, and gongs through the course of human evolution, and uncover the primal hypnotic power of rhythm!


“Learn the difference between noise and music, and between music and magic. Read it and weep!”
—Jerry Garcia

“You pick up this book wondering what there is to say about drums … You put it down roundly initiated into humanity’s second oldest pastime.”
—Robert Hunter

“A percussionist’s progress through the mysteries and the magic of drumming in search of what he calls ‘the Edge.'”
—LA Times

“Explore the altered states of consciousness the drum evokes, with Joseph Campbell, Alla Rakha, and the Siberian shamans as our guides. From blues and jazz to African talking drums and the bullroarers found worldwide, we are introduced to percussionists of all stripes, spots and plaids.”
—Pagan Book Reviews

Mickey Hart, percussionist for the Grateful Dead, tells the compelling tale of his quest to unlock the power, myths, and legends of percussion. Complemented by more than 90 photographs and illustrations, it is a compelling, panoramic adventure into a vibrant living tradition of myth, power, and magic.

Along his journey of discovery, Hart takes us to the very beginning of his life behind the drums, from the basics of rudiments, to his introduction to world jazz and Avant-Garde, from the headiness of 1960s Haight-Ashbury and his time with the Grateful Dead, to the explosion of ethnomusicology in the 1980s and ’90s. On the way, we hear the stories of anthropologists and legends of world music and percussion, including Joseph Campbell, Steven Feld, Buddy Rich, Alla Rakha, Zakir Hussain, Babatunde Olatunji, and Airto Moreira.

Now available for the first time in eBook format!